“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
― Lewis Carroll,
There is so much to be said for returning to a life and living it in the cycle of changing seasons not the least of which is feeling like part of something much larger than myself. It is brought home to me as I observe the changes in nature, the habits of the wildlife and embark on the cycle of seasonal chores to do around the farmhouse. It feels natural, comforting and even meditative at times.
In this season, yes the days are shorter, colder and darker….but all make for a perfect excuse to cook up all kinds of soup, reading more than ever, and having endless fires in the fireplace. Mimicking nature we all have an excuse to “slow down”…kind of like the bears!
Holiday season in New England is in full swing, with so many of my favorite things going on at once, it’s hard to keep up… holiday fairs, local artisan/craft shows, and buying the long awaited eggnog at the local Arethusa Farm Dairy.
Decorating for the holidays in New England is simple and understated and most decorations are nature inspired reminiscent of Christmas in Switzerland. Pinecones and all sorts of holiday greenery are all available for purchase, however in keeping with my now ever more enhanced sense of adventure, I have my garden gloves and pruning shears in the car at the ready to stop at public land to harvest bittersweet, winterberry, and pine cuttings. It gets tricky for sure, and I have been tangled more than once in the brambles while misjudging the height or depth of the bushes! Mostly it’s just peaceful and offers a good opportunity to laugh my own antics and to be grateful for not injuring myself.
We have been taking a crash course that should be titled, “Returning to the Northeast As An Adult” and I would be lying if I didn’t admit it has been a bit overwhelming at times. For those of you that know us and are old enough to remember you know we are part “Green Acres” part “Beverly Hillbillies” so you will appreciate the magnitude of our learning curve. Currently we are in the midst of “winterizing”. Who knew there was so much to do? I’ve learned that arborvidae are “deer candy” and need to be wrapped in deer netting, the water and heat to the barn gets turned off and after years of year-round swimming pools in Texas we learned about winterizing the pool, AND the need for a pool cover. Chimney cleaning, firewood delivery and oh did I mention wood stacking? YIKES…who needs a gym? The bird feeders are finally out (after the disappointment of learning that the over abundance of black bear make putting feeders out in Spring and Summer a bit dangerous) and they are attracting all kinds of local birds and watching them is a bit of an addiction. Our funniest adventure was removing the pond fountain before it iced over which required the purchase of a rubber raft and B having to row out to the fountain in his wetsuit to drag it to shore. We laughed so hard it was well worth the effort! We survived …actually we are thriving, all with a huge sense of accomplishment for the magnitude of what we have learned. Mistakes will be made for sure but we are just hoping to minimize the damage!
The farmhouse was built in 1799 by the Kilbourn family, some of the earliest settlers in Litchfield. We are only the 3rd family to live here with the original owners living here for generations and the second family for close to 50 years. As B said, “we are just stewards of the house which comes with great responsibility”…and we take it seriously.
As crazy as all of this might sound to many, for us, at least so far, it all adds up to feeling more grounded, more connected to the universe and nature and more “in the moment” than we have been in a long time. Feel free to check in with me in February as I am certain I will be screaming for some warmth and sunshine but for now… heaven is a winter landscape. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. xoxo